I don’t think I can ever forget April 12. it was back in 2011 on this day when I came close to a serious calamity. I was working in a remote desert location on assignment, about 3 hours away from Abu Dhabi.
It was just before sunset when my good friend and I started our journey back home from that day’s activities. Until that day, I had had other people–colleagues and contractors–drive me to the jobsite. This simply was car-pooling. On that fateful day, however, I offered to drive back home. I wanted to drive as it’s something I enjoy and the road surface was just wonderful. The road is winding and has many hills and valleys. Often the wind blows the sand onto the surface creating potential risks for the drivers. It wasn’t the case that day.
My good friend and office colleague, who drove the car in the morning onto the site, was now a passenger and we started off feeling both excited and tired. Excited that we were going home and tired because it was a long day of work in hot desert location and we still had 3 hours to go.
About a little more than half-an-hour into our trip I went up on a tight curve and BOOM I didn’t meet the road as I expected, or where I expected. The road was going one way and I was going another. I tried, unsuccessfully, to steer the car back into its correct position but it was too late. It skidded off and spun a few times before rolling down, backwards, on the side of the road, which was steep. All this time I was thinking, “what happened,” and saying, “no!” By this time I had completely lost control of the car, of course, and could only wait for it to come to a stop on its own.
Since the car was going backwards and down the side of the road, where there were boulders, I did not know what was going to happen. Nothing like this had ever happened to me and I am sure nothing like this had ever happened to my friend. I knew about his driving experiences.
Finally the car came to a stop as it ran into a fence. We both look at each other and my friend asked very plainly, “What happened, Tameez?” He was dazed just as I was. Imagine the situation for yourself. I think I replied back to him, “I don’t know what happened!” It took a good few minutes to get our nerves back while we were still in the car. I am thinking the worst at that moment. And yet nothing physically happened to us.
Somehow, the car after skidding off, spinning and rolling down on the side of the road a good 100 meters in total wasn’t badly damaged. Unbelievable as it sounds, it missed hitting any rocks. There was minor damage to the fence and minor damage to the car. I don’t know how we came out of this unscathed.
We both got out and, after inspecting the vehicle and looking back at the entire episode, thanked the Almighty for keeping us safe. As time went on, someone else stopped by and we learned that earlier at the same curve, there was a fatality. Fortunately for us that when this accident occurred, there was no other vehicle coming from the opposite side. I can’t image what would have happened.
I reminded myself and shared with my friend that when I left home in the morning, I had recited the prayer for when a journey is started. Only God knows how close we came to a certain calamity.